CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No. 2 Westside turned a tight game into a double-digit lead late in the third quarter to advance past seventh-seeded Scott 56-42 in the Class AA semifinals.
“Every time we play Scott it’s a nip-and-tuck kind of game,” Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. “I thought in the second half we started to do things that we do well. We got some steals, hit some 3s and made some foul shots at the end to help us pull away from them.”
Hope Lester and Danielle Brown accounted for all the points in a 12-3 run that included three 3-pointers. Lester finished with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Brown scored 10 points.
“Coming out in the second half I got confidence back in my shot, and I just took my time and they went in,” said Lester, a junior who has committed to Marshall.
Westside (19-3) pressured Scott into 29 turnovers and converted those into 32 points.
“That’s the first time that we have pressed them, so I don’t think they really expected that,” Lusk said. “I thought the girls really got after it and got some deflections and steals from behind and got some easy baskets.”
Like most teams that come down to the Civic Center, the Renegades struggled with shooting. They made just 31 percent (17-of-54) from the field and 23 percent from 3-point range.
“Last year I feel like we had our worst performance shooting game in the championship game, this year we feel like we had that in our first game,” Lusk said. “Hopefully, these next few games we’re going to step up and knock down some big time shots.
The Skyhawks (18-6), who saw their seven-game win streak snapped, were led by Ali Whitman’s 14 points and nine rebounds. Julie Conway and Maddy Weeks added 11 points a piece for Scott, who out-rebounded Westside 37-31.
“Turnovers are what cost us the ballgame,” Scott coach John Porter said. “At times we battled, but we just couldn’t get into our stuff.”
The Skyhawks played without ailing senior point guard Jaimee Dotson. The talented freshman Weeks, who came in averaging 11 points a game, took the reigns and at times played to her youth, committing seven turnovers.
“We missed (Dotson) for sure, but Maddy played a hell of a game today,” Porter said. “As she gets older her court awareness and where the ball should go will get better.”
Westside moves on to Friday’s semifinals to take on No. 6 Keyser, who upended third-seeded North Marion.
“(Keyser’s) good—they have quick guards who put a lot of pressure on you. They’re here for a reason,” Lusk said. “We have to do what we do well. It’s going to be a very interesting game and a fun challenge.”